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review 2018-02-20 02:21
Catching Up?
Cosmos - Carl Sagan,Seth MacFarlane,LeVar Burton,Neil deGrasse Tyson,Ann Druyan

I never watched the series when it was on PBS so when the audiobook was in an Audible sale pile, I snapped it up and now I am finally getting around to listening to it. And I am having trouble with it. LeVar Burton is narrating and his cadence is driving me nuts; it is kind of like a bad Carl Sagan imitation or as one review put it "Jordi LaForge channeling James Kirk." So far, I am committed to finishing it but it will be a few chapters interspersed with other books. Oh, well.


Finished it. I would mark it as interesting and informative but dated and preachy in places. Still, based solely on content and ignore the negative effect of the narrator, I'm giving this four stars for what was in it's day ground breaking content. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-25 18:19
The Class by Erich Segal
The Class - Erich Segal

This novel follows the lives of 5 Harvard graduates, beginning with their enrollment until their 25th graduation anniversary:


* Ted, a classicist, Greek, an outsider because he doesn't live on campus - always struggling to make his mark


* Jason, a sports star, jewish only on the paper - until the loss of the love of his life leads him to Israel


* Danny, a piano prodigy, always looking for public applause and sometimes overreaching


* Andy whose family funded one of the houses within campus. He never extinguishes himself professionally but in the end has an impact on all of them


* George, a Hungarian refugee, obsessed with politics and making his life worth the sacrifices he made.


This is an interesting novel but again for the most part it failed to actually engage me on a more emotional level. All of the protagonists are driven by professional ambition (nurtured by their families and the alma mater), disregarding their private lives, maybe except for Jason who actually follows his heart's desire and leaves the US and Harvard behind. But the others have to learn their lessons after affairs and putting public adulation before love and dedication - and some never learn.


Still in the final analysis, again, this novel left open much of the interior workings. Romances don't get infused with emotions, they're told pretty much straight-forward, like reciting facts... and given some characters' attitudes it's pretty difficult to see how anyone could fall for them and/or agree to marry them. So, it's the heart of the story essentially that's missing (for the most part). And adding that heart would have lifted this novel from average to good in no time. But it was not to be.

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text 2017-11-25 02:28
From the Audible Sale Pile
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space - Ann Druyan,Carl Sagan
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery - Sam Kean,Henry Leyva
Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970 - David Browne,Sean Runnette
Redefining Reality:The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science - Steven Gimbel

I've been shopping the sales again and working up quite a TBR for January. 


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-23 22:16
Man, Woman and Child by Erich Segal
Man, Woman, and Child - Erich Segal

Sheila and Bob lead the perfect life, successful in their jobs, 2 daughters, an epitome of a marriage - but Bob has kept a secret for 10 years, a secret that comes back to haunt him when he takes a call from France.


Years ago, I read Segal's "Doctors" 3 times, I read Acts of Faith, Love Story, Oliver's Story and Prizes and I remember them all, especially Doctors, very fondly. Maybe that's why this book ultimately disappointed me. First of all, the prose seemed incredibly simple and dispassionate at times.


And secondly and more importantly, how can a matter so complex as having a child from an affair a decade ago turn up, be handled properly in just over 200 pages? 50 of which deal with flashbacks to the beginnings of Sheila and Bob's relationship and to his affair? The focus is with the family the boy comes into, but the boy himself who after all just lost practically his whole world, is more a footnote. Where's just one thought about what's best for this child? Instead we read about 2 spoiled girls, Sheila who's tempted to sort of return the affair-favour, and Bob who just feels guilty. But the premise would have deserved much more...


That the book still gets an average rating is due to the fact that in the end, I got sucked into the story. But the disappointment remains.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-18 19:23
Stargate: SG-1: Alliances by Karen Miller
Stargate SG-1: Alliances - Karen Miller

Right after the mission to Euronda O'Neill's threatened by Kinsey with a court-martial because of his actions which led to the death of Alar - and to Earth not procuring new weapons. Meanwhile, the Tok'ra come up with a plan to get new hosts and spies. They plan on infiltrating a human breeding farm, and for that endeavour to succeed they need SG-1... which conveniently would put O'Neill out of Kinsey's sight.


I picked up this novel because of the post-Euronda premise where Jack and Daniel clashed in quite an unprecedented way. But somehow, this was the weakest part because, quite frankly, at times it felt as though this novel was set early in the series, not its 4th season. Everyone's unsure of everyone else, Daniel believes himself on the high moral ground which gets tiresome really fast, and the author doesn't waste time emphasizing Jack's past in covert ops including his stint in an Iraqi prison (that's only been mentioned twice within the series, that I can remember). Okay, but why not elaborate on that? Instead, she chooses to have him second-guess himself left and right about killing Alar.


When I think about Euronda, *that*'s not the moment I was doubting Jack, that decision to close the iris on Alar, after having warned him not to follow. Indubitably a questionable decision in itself but Jack isn't the person to doubt himself after the fact. But in pondering the aftermath, I'd have Jack question his single-minded quest for new weapons, his being deceived and not asking questions until it's almost too late. There's a reason why people should hear both sides of a conflict before making any kinds of judgement. And that should apply to military personnel as well, tasked with first contact. Standing order to procure weapons aside, this is the line dividing the SGC from the NID and their illegal operation.


And Daniel? Back in that episode he was right to question that war. But he should have talked to Jack in private, not in Alar's presence - who after all could use the division within the team for his own purpose. So Jack's right to be angry and lash out at Daniel in this novel. But I definitely could have done without that heart to heart where Daniel practically forgives Jack for killing Alar and everything's fine again. I've read better fanfic.


Unfortunately, one of the most promising premises, the threat Kinsey's posing to Jack, is dropped after the first confrontation. It's like once SG-1 is off Earth, Kinsey's vanishing back into the hole he's crawled out of, as well. Granted, we know that nothing comes out of Kinsey's threat of a court-martial, but I'd still have appreciated some mention of what's going to happen after SG-1's return, just one sentence would have been enough...


The main plot: Quite honestly, I don't understand why SG-1 claims to free those humans from slavery (even back when they're only targeting select humans, not the whole farm) when all it is they're doing is send them to the Tok'ra - what if they don't decide to become Tok'ra hosts or spies? What happens then? No one mentionned that. And quite frankly, the timeframe's just ridiculous. SG-1 joins such a breeding farm where people are terrorized, and within a day they talk about freedom and question everything the slaves know... that they're not killed or betrayed's not credible at all.


And finally, everyone using idioms and military speak got a bit annoying quite fast. At least, I didn't hear Jacob talk like that in the series...


So, overall, rather negligible.

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